"Dominic was a man of great equanimity, except when moved to compassion and mercy." Office of Readings for the Feast of St Dominic
The feast of St Dominic is an important one for Franciscans. Dominic, like Francis himself, is called Holy Father by Franciscans in order to help the friars minor understand that anyone who professes poverty and itinerancy is indeed a Father to us. More helpful, perhaps, in understanding this custom, is the short biography of St. Dominic from today's Office of Readings.
Most of us strive to have a peaceful spirit, to live with "great equanimity" but often enough this desire fulfills our hopes and understanding of holiness, not necessarily God's desire for us. When Dominic is described as a man of "great equanimity" his biographer is clearly talking about a God given gift since he reminds us that Dominic lived a life of equanimity "except when moved to compassion and mercy." In other words, there are moments when it is important to be quiet, reserved and outwardly peaceful, but there are others times, especially when someone is suffering and in need of God's companionship, that we need to let go of all restraints in order to give ourselves totally, like God, to the person in need.
Parents know this virtue in regard to their small children. When a child is sick, there are no limits to their compassion and understanding. They attend to their children with a kind of fierce determination and love. Our task, of course, is to offer this same compassionate commitment to our enemies. Only then can we be sure that our desire is from God.
Today, let go of self concern and reach out for anyone in great need.
Who has shown you unconditional concern in your confusion and suffering?